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Build a Condominium Cost Guide
Updated: November 24, 2022
Condominiums offer flexibility between owning a single-family home and maintaining the entire property and renting a unit in a larger building. In a condominium, each unit is individually owned, but the exterior, hallways, and other areas are shared spaces with shared costs. As the need for more affordable housing grows, many builders may build condos, which can be more affordable to purchase and maintain than a traditional single-family home. This can help meet the needs of a growing housing crisis while giving people more options on where to live.
Like apartment buildings, condo buildings come in many sizes and types with a range of associated costs. The national average cost range to build a condominium building is $1.5 to $4.5 million, with most people paying $3 million for a mid-range 20-unit building with a shared lobby and amenities. This project’s low cost is $450,000 for a 2-unit condo home in a suburban area. The high cost is $18 million for an upscale condominium complex with 100 units and shared amenities in an upcoming urban area.
Cost to Build a Condo Building
|Condo Construction Cost|
|National average cost||$3M|
What Is a Condominium?
A condominium building may resemble an apartment building. A condominium is a multi-family building where each family has a dedicated space. Unlike an apartment building, where the entire building and all the units inside of it are owned by one person, a condo is owned by many people.
The most common scenario is to own the unit you live in, but you can also purchase more units and rent them out. Whoever owns the condo unit is responsible for everything inside. The unit owner also pays into a shared condo association fund. The association uses these funds to handle the shared spaces, such as the roof, stairs, exterior, shared fitness areas, concierge, or other amenities the building may have. An existing building can “go condo,” where the residents purchase the units they currently rent. Or, a multi-family building can be constructed with the intent to sell the units individually as condos.
Condo Construction Cost per Square Foot
The cost of condo construction varies tremendously by the unit. Costs fluctuate due to the location, with urban areas costing more than suburban locations. Costs also vary depending on the unit type, amenities, and building type. This creates a cost range per square foot from $180 to $400. These costs are for the construction and do not account for land acquisition, parking, or soft costs associated with listing and selling the finished units. These costs are for constructing the entire building, not individual units. Your costs per square foot vary depending on the total amount of shared areas and units. Units may have higher costs per square foot than shared areas, creating a range within each building.
Condo Construction Cost per Unit
Like apartments and other multi-family dwellings, condos can sometimes be given costs on a per-unit or square-foot basis. This pricing structure makes it easier to compare the costs of a 10-unit building with a 20 or 100-unit building because square footage varies based on the units’ sizes and building size. The average cost range for condo building construction is $112,000 to $225,000 per unit. Lower-end condos cost less to build, and higher-end buildings cost more, but most fall in this range.
|Number of Units||Costs|
|2 Units||$224K - $450K|
|10 Units||$1.12M - $2.25M|
|20 Units||$2.24M - $4.5M|
|50 Units||$5.6M - $11.25M|
|100 Units||$11.2M - $22.5M|
|200 Units||$22.4M - $45M|
Cost to Build a Condo Building by Type
Like any multi-family building, condo buildings can be built in different types. Like apartment buildings, you may have a small detached or high-rise unit in an urban area with more than 200 units and luxury amenities. The larger a condo building, the higher the total costs to build. Like with square footage costs, shared spaces can have different costs than individual units. Most costs are averages for that building to account for amenities and the number of units. The average cost varies by the condo building type because of the differing number of units. In general, detached condos are the smallest and cheapest to build, while high rises are the largest and most expensive.
|Type of Condo||Number of Units||Costs|
|Detached||1||$112K - $225K|
|Low-Rise||5 - 50||$560K - $11.25M|
|Mid-Rise||50 - 200||$5.6M - $45M|
|High-Rise||200+||$22.4M - $75M|
The average cost to build a single detached condo is $112,000 to $225,000. A detached condo does not share walls with another unit. This makes it unique. The units are usually built as a group and governed by the same condo association. These are usually small homes, measuring less than 1,000 sq.ft. Unlike condos in a shared space, you have maintenance costs and responsibilities for your condo’s exterior. Its appearance and what you can do to the exterior are usually dictated by the condo association.
The cost to build a low-rise condo building averages $560,000 to $11.25 million. A low-rise condominium building contains between 5 and 50 units. Typically, low-rise buildings have 5 or fewer floors. Because of the height, these condos are generally less expensive to build. They are more common in suburban areas and may have shared amenities. Those with shared amenities usually have shared lobbies, fitness centers, and exterior features like pools. Sometimes, several low-rise buildings may be grouped with shared amenities in a separate building.
The cost to build a mid-rise condo building ranges from $5.6 to $45 million. A building this size contains between 50 and 200 units. These buildings may cost more to build than smaller buildings, depending on the location and amenities. It is more common for these buildings to have shared amenities, including lobbies, fitness centers, and indoor or outdoor pools. These condos are found in urban and suburban areas. It is also common to have condo communities with more than one mid-rise building grouped together and a building dedicated to shared amenities.
Build a High-Rise Condo
The cost to build a high-rise condominium building is $22.4 to $75 million. A building this size usually contains more than 200 units. This is typically the most expensive condominium building to build overall and per unit. Costs at this size start to grow due to the additional structural needs. These condos are more commonly found in urban areas and often contain more luxury features and several shared amenities. These buildings commonly have parking garages or are located in accessible downtown areas.
New Condo Unit Construction Cost Breakdown
The cost breakdown for building a condo building is similar to the breakdown for building an apartment building. Costs rise in proportion to the building’s size and material quality. Luxury buildings have higher costs than mid-range or basic buildings, while high rises with 200 units cost more than a simple 2-condo building.
All condo buildings, no matter how many units are involved, have structural costs, including the foundation, walls, and roof. Depending on the unit type and size, you may have wood walls or masonry, impacting costs. The entire building must be wired for electricity, and plumbing must be run to and through each unit. Each unit has separate costs for bathrooms, kitchens, and HVAC systems. The entire building also has flooring and interior features in each unit and the shared areas. Windows and doors are also within the various units and shared spaces, so the more each building has, the higher the costs. This can mean that a new condo unit construction cost breakdown can vary from one unit to the next within a building.
However, it is difficult to extrapolate costs from one unit over another because the units are encompassed in a larger building. If you have an architect, general contractor, or structural engineer on the project, their costs are in addition to the total. So, while their costs may start at 8%, this of the total, but added onto the final costs, rather than part of the final costs. The following cost breakdown shows the average percentages of the project.
|Project Breakdown||Percent of Project Cost|
|Windows and Doors||5%|
|Roof and Cover||10%|
|Walls and Exterior Finish||14%|
|Architect Fees||9% of the total cost (added)|
|Structural Engineer Fees||1.5% of the total cost (added)|
|Contractor or Builder Cost||25% of the total cost (added)|
Modular Condo Cost
It is common, especially in urban areas, for large buildings to be built modularly. This means large sections of the building are constructed off-site. The sections are moved into place and assembled at the building site. This results in stronger buildings with fewer weather-related delays and lower building costs. Prices vary depending on the area but generally cost between $180 and $225 per sq.ft., making this construction method more affordable, especially for luxury high rises.
Build Luxury Condos
Condos come in many forms. If you live in an urban or upscale area, you may build a luxury condo building to cater to the clientele. Luxury condos cost close to $400 or more per sq.ft. to build, with some reaching $600 per sq.ft. in high-end areas. This is just the construction cost and does not consider land acquisition or soft costs. Luxury condos are sometimes built in malls and shopping centers or the middle of a shopping community. The appeal is to give residents the ability to live, shop, dine, and enjoy entertainment in one area. This is a trend in many communities, and while the costs to build are higher, most buyers want the associated lifestyle that comes with them. For this reason, they are usually willing to pay considerably more for a luxury condo in certain areas and with specific amenities than for a standard condo. Common amenities include dedicated high-end fitness centers, entertainment areas, and adjacent shopping and restaurants.
Condo Construction Styles
Like many multi-family homes, you can build a condominium building in several styles. Most styles fall into one of a few categories. They are condexes, meaning duplex-style homes with a separate owner on either half or a detached condo. A few may also fall into small low-rise categories, except modern condos, which can take on any style. Costs to build are not greatly impacted by the building’s style.
Townhouse-style condos are basically townhouses with a governing body or condo association. The homes are attached in groups of two or rows. You own the interior of your living space, but the exterior is completely governed by the association. This has pros and cons. If the roof leaks, the association fixes it. However, if you want to install a ductless AC unit, you must get permission.
Ranch-style condos are typically a type of condex. This means the home’s exterior looks like an oversized ranch. However, it has two entrances in the front. The layouts on either side are identical, and each occupant owns their side. You work together and set aside an agreed-upon amount of money each month for exterior work and repairs. This means if the other unit has a roof leak, you are both responsible for fixing it, even if it does not impact you. These condos may be single or two-story, depending on the style.
Modern Farmhouse Condo
Modern farmhouse condos can have several appearances. They can be built out of a pole barn with 2 to 4 units. They can also be a single oversized farmhouse carved into 2 to 4 units. In general, these condos have a white board and batten exterior. They have 2 units up and 2 down or 1 unit on either side with 2 stories. The front-bottom units typically have access to the porch. The rear or top units usually have balconies.
Victorian condos are usually larger old Victorian homes divided into two units. They have a single front door and shared interior lobby and staircase. Once inside, there is usually one unit on the first floor, with a second unit on the second and possibly third floors. These homes have the features of the original Victorian. This includes the exterior with gingerbread and distinct colors, the interior key-shaped doors, and small cozy rooms. You are more likely to find this condo in suburban areas with old neighborhoods.
Craftsman condos are usually detached or a condex. Craftsman homes come in many types of bungalows, four-squares, and Prairie-style. While these are normally built as single-family homes, bungalows are sometimes built as detached condos. They are usually constructed in neighborhoods because the homes are relatively small. While you own the entire property, you need approval from the condo association for exterior work. This means routine exterior repairs could be subject to inspection and approval by the association.
In some areas, larger colonials may also be broken into condos. From the exterior, this appears to be a single-family colonial home. Once inside, the home is broken into 2 or 3 condos. Each has a private entrance from inside, with some having a separate side entrance directly to the condo. Each owner is responsible for their unit’s interior. The exterior is a shared expense and concern. Each condo owner pays into a condo association fund each month, with the money going toward exterior upkeep and repair.
Modern condos come in many types and styles. In urban areas, you may find modern condos in a high-rise building with shopping, restaurants, and amenities in the same building. In older urban areas, you may have modern condos carved out of old industrial buildings. These have more of a loft feel than some other homes. Modern condos usually have open floor plans and multiple amenities. You pay a condo fee to offset the cost of these amenities and communal area repair and upkeep.
Monthly Costs of Owning a Condo
If you choose to own a condo versus a single-family home, you pay your monthly mortgage, taxes, and a monthly condo fee. This is paid to the condo association and designed to cover operating and maintaining the building and grounds. This rate varies tremendously by city, region, and building. A small condo building may charge $50 a month, while a luxury high-rise may charge over $700. It depends on how many units there are, how large the building is, and the amenities.
Pros and Cons of Living in a Condo
Living in a condo has pros and cons. Condos are a good place to start for people who want to own their unit and grow equity. You are not renting or subject to a landlord’s whims. However, you only own and have control over your own unit. You pay into a shared account to cover the costs of maintenance and repair for the entire building. This means if the roof leaks on the other side of the building, some of the money you pay into this shared account goes toward it. You also have less say in the building’s appearance. While you can take part in the condo association, you are governed by its rules.
This makes condos a good choice for seniors, younger people looking for starter homes, and those who travel. Your maintenance and upkeep are taken care of for you. However, condos are slow to appreciate. They are also difficult to sell, so you may not make a profit if you become tired of living close to your neighbors.
Condo vs Apartment Price
Condos and apartment buildings are extremely similar. They are built using the same methods and materials and have similar costs to build. The difference is that each occupant owns their unit in a condo building. The building is owned by the condo association and paid for and maintained by the individual owners, who pay a monthly fee. An apartment building is owned by a single entity, who rents out each unit. Renters do not own anything in the building and do not pay extra for maintenance costs. They are also not responsible for repairs or building upgrades, while condo owners are. Building a condo or apartment building has similar costs per square foot, but condos are typically more costly because individual owners may have different requirements than rental units. This makes the cost to build an apartment building $90 to $430 per sq.ft., while the cost of building a condo is $180 to $400 a sq.ft. Costs are ultimately determined by the number of units and location.
|Type||Costs per Sq.Ft.|
|Apartment||$90 - $430|
|Condo||$180 - $400|
Condominium vs Townhouse Price
Condos and townhouses overlap. Townhouses are owner-occupied units generally built in attached rows. They often have an association to handle the shared amenities and spaces, while the owner is responsible for the interior - and sometimes the exterior - of their unit. You own only your unit in a condo, and the rest of the building is maintained by the condo association. You are not personally responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the building’s exterior or shared amenities, but you pay a monthly fee. In general, a townhouse has lower monthly fees but higher personal maintenance. Condos have less personal maintenance and upkeep, but they have higher fees. Townhouses may be constructed by the unit, but condos are constructed by the building, making it difficult to compare costs. However, a condo building has higher costs per square foot to build than a single townhouse or row of townhouses, with townhouses costing an average of $110 to $135 a sq.ft. to build and condo buildings averaging $180 to $400 a sq.ft.
|Type||Costs per Sq.Ft.|
|Townhouse||$110 - $135|
|Condo||$180 - $400|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Build a Parking Garage
If the condo building you construct is large enough or is in an urban area, you may want to add a parking garage. Parking garages come in many shapes and sizes or can be underground to save space. When the time comes to sell the units, having dedicated, covered, and secure parking can be a bonus for many buyers. Parking garages have an average cost of $9.75 million to build but raise the property’s value. You may be able to sell the units for more money or attract more buyers for the property when finished.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Varying costs. Costs for condos fluctuate due to the location, size, and material. In areas with a higher need for housing, costs may be higher. The cost of land is also increasing in some areas, impacting costs, particularly in urban areas where real estate is at a premium.
- Development. You do not need a real estate license to build a condo building. Condo buildings are designed to be sold to the eventual occupants.
- Soft costs. In addition to the building costs, there are often many overlooked soft costs to consider, such as government and permit fees, community benefit charges, and closing costs. These costs add up quickly and vary based on the location.
- Purchase and sale. It is common for individual units to be sold before the building is complete. Some developers hold back a few units until later in hopes of raising costs when occupancy becomes higher.
- Occupancy. To have new owners move into their units, occupancy permits must be obtained. This means the entire building must be finished and pass final inspections before owners take final possession of their homes.
- Is a condo better than an apartment?
This depends on your goals. Both are similar in living day to day. But a condo is occupant-owned, meaning you own your unit. An apartment building is owned by a single individual, giving the occupants less control but fewer fees.
- How long will a condo building last?
A well-built condominium can last for decades when properly maintained. Condos typically have the same lifespan as other residential buildings.
- What makes a house a condominium?
A condominium is a multi-family dwelling where each occupant owns their unit. The building is maintained by a condo association, and each occupant pays into a general fund for maintenance. This is different from a single-family home that has one owner.
- How much is the average condo in the U.S.?
The average cost to purchase a single condo unit is $303,000, but costs vary by region. The cost to build a condo building is $1.5 to $4.5 million.
- How much profit do condo developers make?
Profit margins vary depending on several factors, including the location, number of units, and condo type. On average, most condo developers make around 20% to 25% of the total sale costs, so a sale of $20 million has a profit of $4 to $5 million. However, the cost to build a condo or apartment building has increased by nearly 50% over the last few years, resulting in lower profits.